Junior transitions as offensive threat
In its’ home opener against Manhattan, the Rutgers women’s lacrosse team did not need to wait long for its first goal.
Junior Katrina Martinelli found the back of the net less than seven minutes into the contest, her first of five goals in the 15-5 win.
For Martinelli, the performance was not only a solid start to a new season, but it represented the first time taking the field at the attack position for the Scarlet Knights.
“I’ve never played attack before, so starting there felt really good. It was just a great way to start off the season,” Martinelli said.
Her five goals and three assists made for a career-high eight points in one game. She totaled 11 last season.
After playing midfield and entering off the bench for the majority of her first two years at Rutgers, Martinelli looks to expand her contributions at her new position.
“Hopefully being an attack will allow me to play better, just because we have other girls at midfield who are better at running up and down and I can just provide them that attack,” she said. “I can still help out on the defensive end, which is good.”
The position change is not a full transition, as Martinelli is able to switch back to midfield at any point. She splits her practice time at both positions.
“We had other girls that were able to step up and play midfield which allows me to play attack,” she said. “We don’t have set positions. It’s just about playing a position where everyone fits together well.”
Having the flexibility to work within an offensive system is key for Martinelli and the Knights. The team plans to improve its cohesiveness and teamwork this season on the offensive side.
Racking up several goals was a good sign of Martinelli’s progress at the skill position.
“She’s doing a really nice job,” said head coach Laura Brand-Sias. “She had a great fall season for us, so we’re not really surprised at how she performed [Sunday].”
Posing a threat on defense could add to Martinelli’s value. She collected two groundballs and one turnover last season against Temple, the Knights’ next opponent.
A well-rounded game led to Martinelli filling in the stat sheet last season on three occasions. She managed at least one goal, groundball and draw control last April against Big East teams Louisville and Cincinnati.
Martinelli tied for the team lead in goals Sunday along with senior midfielder Stephanie Anderson. She assisted Anderson’s second goal of the game.